Connected TV facing DRM threat
10.30 Europe/London, July 21, 2011 By Julian Clover

A leading pay-TV consultant has questioned the ability of connected TV and over-the-top systems to satisfy the requirements of leading rights holders.

Andrew Glasspool, managing partner, Farncombe Consulting, told Broadband TV News that the DRM-based TV world was invariably multicast, creating a broadcast-style scenario, where if the pay-TV keys had been obtained they could subsequently be shared with everyone.

“You have people who come from the learnt experience of pay television and the hard experience of security breaches that have to be corrected or enclosed and then there’s the DRM world that exists self certification and products that are put into the market,” said Glasspool. “The question really is how will they be managed going forward with a security breach”.

Farncombe previously contributed to an Ofcom consultation that outlined the minimum security requirements needed for a terrestrial DTT platform.

Glasspool said it was a different matter protecting a catch-up TV service supporting a linear channel that had earlier broadcast free-to-air than it was high value premium content. “Either the industry has until now been taking unnecessary security measures or the new industry will find out how to come out to the standards of the old one.”

Typically studios might write in content security requirements into contracts that content be suspended until the breach is repaired. Manufacturers of connected TVs could find content restricted to later models because earlier versions are unable to support studio requirements.

Says Glasspool: “The risk for any OEM is that they can take a DRM system, they self certify that they have done all the things they think they should do, and then they get attacked. The attack may not be on the DRM, but on the robustness of the OEM system, and that’s something they’re not used to.”